I have not been blogging because of all the usual reasons people stop blogging: 1) No interesting information to impart. 2) Lack of photographic evidence. 3) Indecision. 4) Malaise? Millieu? Ennui? Contretemps? (Cliché?!)
Today I’ll talk about the saddle. After much waiting, I was recently rewarded with a 17” demo Specialized Eurolight. This demo was built specifically for me, which made it less of a demo and more of a…. hmmm… je ne sais quoi. I guess I would call it a custom order with an extra-lenient return policy. Anyway, Carol at Lost Juniper did all the legwork for me because Specialized is notorious for their lax customer service. I tried to contact them a few times on my own, then gave up and did as Aarene suggested in Endurance Granny's comments!
The saddle weighs almost nothing. I handed it—fully rigged with pad and all—to Sarah just to brag on it. I was rewarded with an epithet that I will not repeat here, because this is a family blog.
As soon as I sat in it, I could feel that that twist was narrower and the rise in the seat was flatter. It didn’t feel a lot bigger than my 16”, really, but depending on where I put the tape, it really is at least an inch bigger in the seat, maybe two. The space for my big, fat thighs is where I really notice it. That space is quite a bit wider so my thigh isn’t crammed against the pommel or the cantle.
Initially, I was worried about not having a sheepskin for grip (I went with the cheaper plain seat for the demo), but it isn’t an issue. I feel perfectly secure. I immediately liked the two-inch leathers instead of fenders. They give my legs a lot more freedom for cues, but they still feel substantial and not too swingy. I am a little worried that they are going to bruise my shins, though. Is it normal for them to make so much contact with the leg? I am thinking I could put the stirrup turners onto this saddle if I want the leathers to really be perfectly flat. It seems like overkill, but as long as we are making changes in the name of ultimate comfort, why not go a little overboard?
To be really thorough in my investigation, I took the sheepskin off the old Trailmaster and put the new leathers on it, so I was comparing the two saddles apples to apples. The interesting thing is that the old saddle immediately felt a lot narrower without the sheepskin and the fenders. I know, DUH, Ruth. Of course it feels narrower without two inches of fleece between you and the seat. But the fleece has been such a non-negotiable part of my endurance tack that I hadn’t really factored it in as a vector for pain.
With the sheepskin removed and the leathers subbing in for the fenders, I got a much better feel for what the old Trailmaster was at its most basic. The old saddle was pinching where the back of my thigh/butt met the bottom edge of the cantle, but I hadn’t really noticed it before because the sheepskin was protecting me.
So the question was this: Is getting rid of that pinch worth $1600?
Hello, my name is Ruth, and I am the bourgeoisie.
I have no real justification. I didn’t buy it to help the economy or because I particularly appreciate Specialized as a corporation.
I bought it because it was a saddle that fit me and my horse, and there aren’t so many of those out in the world that I’m prepared to risk losing this one. (See also: Why I got married.)
One thing about this particular saddle is that it was put together a little more sloppily than the average. The leather that covers the underside of the tree wasn’t glued on right, so it is sort of wrinkled/bubbled. Anyway, the problem is in a place that no one would ever see it, but I went ahead and emailed the pictures to Carol and asked if Specialized would consider giving me a discount for this obvious factory defect.
They offered me a tiny (tiny!) amount off the base price. I graciously accepted.
And so, once again, money was “saved” through the power of complaining.
|Two things I really dislike about this saddle: Staples where my old saddle had nails and the sloppy leatherwork on the tree.|
|One thing I really like about the saddle: Look how happy my horse is! (And yes, after seeing this photo, I did place it a bit further back the next time I rode.)|